If you are bringing your teen home from an out-of-home program, then you are probably right where we once were – excited but really nervous, hoping that things wouldn’t go right back to where they once were. We know we would need help, but we didn’t know where to find it. Thankfully, our son’s wilderness therapist recommended that we talk with Homeward Bound. So we did.
At first we were skeptical as to whether an organization so far away from us could really be all that helpful. But we knew we had a lot of changes to make in how we parented both of our sons, and we liked the fact that Homeward Bound would be working with all of us, including coming to both of our homes – since we were now divorced.
The visit our coach made to our home was great. He helped put us all at ease right away and helped us get the most out of our time together. He was friendly and down-to-earth. He quickly built a rapport with our son, taking him to lunch and even staying late one night to play a video game with him.
Having him come shortly after our son’s return home was critical because unfortunately, for us, the honeymoon phase was short-lived! Within a few days, he was being defiant, telling us he needed to chew tobacco to fit in, and pushing boundaries left and right. Thankfully, our coach had prepared us for that so we were not quite as taken aback, although it was still hard to see and part of me wanted to send him right back. But instead, we moved forward, established rules and consequences, stayed unified as parents, and avoiding falling back into our old habits – well, mostly. But when we did slip, we caught ourselves and made things right.
The Home Team get-together was really great. Our son opened up to everyone about his experiences and our family and friends returned their support and love. When I first read about this concept, I was a little skeptical, but the outcome was fantastic. Our son was very excited at the end of the session and his enthusiasm stayed with him for quite a while.
Our weekly phone calls with our coach also helped us keep things in perspective. He was well organized and remembered everything – he was amazing! He was always encouraging and helped us in very practical, specific ways that changed our communication with our son.
Some of the challenges would have definitely resulted in big blow-ups in the past. But with our coach’s help, we learned to handle them differently. And what normally could have derailed us, ended up feeling like a minor speed bump.
Our son is now doing well in his new school, staying off drugs, and being much more respectful. We still have a lot of parenting to do, especially with our older son, but we have a much better sense for where we are headed and how to get there.
To us the money we spent on Homeward Bound was insurance money. It was a great decision and well worth it!